Nutritional Importance during Pregnancy and Nursing

Too many times I have been working with pregnant women who do not understand that they need to eat MORE food in times of pregnancy and nursing. The majority of time they just want to lose as much weight as possible after giving birth, when that is the last thing they should be thinking about.


You just gave birth to a human being and you are worried about getting back to your “normal” bodyweight? I would think the health of you and your baby should be the number one priority (as health should always be the priority regardless of the situation) and right after giving birth and during breastfeeding is not the time to restrict calories (nor should it ever be) to lose “weight”. You need to eat MORE calories to fuel yourself and your newborn baby to prosper and thrive, not just survive. Barely feeding yourself (which has a number of health effects not just while pregnant or nursing) means you are not going to be giving your baby the proper nutrition they need to be healthy and happy.

  1. “The painting “Venus Envy” is a work emphasizing the beauty and potency of women and motherhood. The name “Venus Envy” is a play on words of the Freudian “Penis Envy”, and implies the enviable female advantage of being the carrier of new life. With the predominance of taboos and limitations against women in so many cultures throughout the world, the piece exposes with pride and irreverence, female charaacteristics, whether beautiful or unsettling. It is an attempt to absolve women of their generally complex nature, and free them from harsh social standards foisted upon their physical, social, and spiritual selves. It also explores the sensuality of pregnancy, and the mystical and intimidating power with which it was once regarded.” Heidi Taillefer, What Venus Envy Means
  2. “Pregnancy and nursing increase all nutritional requirements, with the possible exception of vitamin D, copper and iron. Calorie intake should increase slightly in pregnancy, and considerably in nursing. Zinc, folic acid, B12, and probably B6, and vitamin E, requirements are increased more by pregnancy than by nursing, while protein, other B vitamins, calcium, iodine, and probably magnesium, vitamin A, and possibly fats, are needed in larger amounts for nursing.” Raymond Peat, PhD, Nutrition for Women
  3. “I think it’s a bit of a worrying sign of the times that when people have seen me with my newborn, many times the reaction has been: “gee you look good and slim for having just had a baby” like that’s my goal and I’d be complimented. We equate slimness with health. If anything I’ve been trying my best to retain weight for backup to support me through breastfeeding. In saying that, I’ve worked my metabolism (pre pregnancy) to a place where I can consume adequate calories, without gaining excess weight. Although some fat stores wouldn’t go astray.
    Immediately post pregnancy is definitely not the time to be restricting calories or stressing the body with high intensity exercise, breastfeeding or not. Your body is in a compromised state. This is such an important time to be taking it easy; replenishing, resting, recovering.” Emma Sgourakis, The Nutrition Coach, Feeding baby, and me
Heidi Taillefer titled Venus Envy
Image: Heidi Taillefer, “Venus Envy”
Amanda Greavette titled Living in the Body:Milk and Honey
Image: Amanda Greavette, “Living in the Body: Milk and Honey”
Emma Sgourakis The Nutrition Coach
Image: Emma Sgourakis, The Nutrition Coach

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